PA Office of Inspector General prevented $87.6 million in welfare fraud in 2014-15

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HARRISBURG, PA — According to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General the agency prevented $87.6 million in welfare fraud and recovered $22 million in welfare overpayments during the fiscal year 2014-15.

The two investigative arms of the OIG – the Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution and the Bureau of Special Investigations. BFPP investigates and prosecutes welfare fraud and conducts collections activities for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to help ensure that public benefits are distributed fairly and equitably and to maintain the integrity of the commonwealth’s public benefits programs. BSI investigates allegations of fraud, waste, abuse and misconduct in agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.

“I applaud the OIG’s efforts and accomplishments listed in this report. The OIG is a vital tool in achieving this administration’s goal of efficiency, accountability and transparency – in other words, a government that works,” Gov. Wolf said. “In addition to this report, the OIG is now publishing, at my direction, public summaries of their investigations on the agency’s website.”

Inspector General Williams noted, “OIG doesn’t just look for problems when it conducts an investigation within an agency. It recommends solutions and ways to operate programs more efficiently. We will continue to be persistent in our investigative pursuits to ensure that state departments and programs meet the highest standards of accountability and integrity.”

According to the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Annual Report, OIG:

  • Prevented $87.6 million in welfare fraud by investigating 25,756 applications for benefits
  • Brought in $22 million in welfare benefit reimbursements through collections activities
  • Filed 833 criminal complaints that charged defendants with welfare fraud for unlawfully obtaining benefits and identified $3.7 million in restitution owed the commonwealth
  • Filed 665 administrative actions that charged defendants with committing an intentional program violation and identified $1.7 million in restitution owed the commonwealth
  • Prevented payment of $2.5 million in future benefits to recipients who were disqualitified through administrative hearings or criminal prosecution of welfare fraud
  • Pursued $8.6 million in restitution and achieved $2.1 million in cost-avoidance in the Medical Assistance Long-Term Care Program
  • Conducted a combined total of 1,194 general investigations, complaint reviews and state employment background checks

The report can be accessed here.

To report fraud, waste, misconduct or abuse in state operations or contracts call 1-855-372-8372. To report welfare fraud call 1-800-932-0582. Tips also may be reported online here.